Cynthia Radom - Service, Sales, Success
Real Estate Newsletter
Coldwell Banker Previews International
Coldwell Banker Co.
166 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
News & Issues for Baby Boomers and Golden-agers
By: Cynthia S. Radom · Award-winning Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist
January-March 2012   ·   ·   (310) 288-0479

   ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

Rent Stabilization Ordinance

Los Angeles Landlords

Are you thinking of buying an income property in L.A. and living in one of the units?  What happens if there is an existing tenant in the unit of your choice?  Before you start looking at properties to buy, investigate L.A. tenant eviction relocation laws and fees should you (or some family member) want to take over.  Also, learn about tenant temporary relocation costs for major remodeling, fumigation, and allowable rent increases (currently 3% annually).


Owner Classifications (1 - 4 Units)
- "
Mom & Pop" Owners: Defined as 4 or less units owned by a person who owns no more than four residential units in L.A. and a single-family house on a separate lot.  Owner/user eviction is limited to once every three years and occupancy applies only to the owner/landlord, their spouse, children, parents, grandparents or grandchildren.

- All "Other" Owners: If you own more real estate than described above, the eviction fees are higher.


Tenant Classifications:

- Qualified: Any existing tenant who is a Senior, is disabled or is living with a minor dependent.

- Eligible: All other tenants.


Eviction Assistance:

Payout* cost for Mom & Pop owners is a set fee.  For other owners, the cost is based on tenant classification, length of tenancy and income. 

Note:  The owner/user eviction is not the same as a "buyout" where the landlord and tenant agree to a dollar amount to vacate. 

*Here are 2011 user eviction costs per household in L.A.:

- Mom & Pop Owners:

Eligible Tenant:     $  7,000

Qualified Tenant:   $14,000


- All Other Owners

Eligible Tenant:    $  7,300 - $ 9,650

Qualified Tenant:  $15,500 - $18,300

NOTE:  The lower cost is for tenants with less than three years occupancy, the higher cost is for three or more years or those registered as a low income tenant. 


Even if a tenant has a month-to-month lease, but can prove that their rent has been paid on time, they can stay until they decide to move.  Otherwise a new property owner must pay to relocate if you or an approved family member wants to move into the occupied unit.


To ensure landlord protection, contact a real estate attorney, and

for more information, call:

L.A. Housing Dept.: (866) 557-7368

Free Workshops:    (213) 928-9075 

Stubborn Tenant

You listed your income property for sale.  But, you have an obstinate tenant who will not allow the Realtor® to enter their unit without the landlord when they are not home.  The following CA Civil Code Sections can be used to show your tenant otherwise.

According to CA Civil Code 1954:  Entry of Dwelling by Landlord:

- Section (2): To make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors or to make an inspection pursuant to subdivision of Section 1950.5.

Furthermore, CA Civil Code 1954 Section (3): If the purpose of the entry is to exhibit the dwelling unit
to a prospective or actual purchaser, the notice may be given orally, in person or by telephone, if the landlord or his or her agent has notified the tenant in writing within 120 days of the oral notice that the property is for sale and that the landlord or agent may contact the tenant orally for the purpose described above.  Twenty-four hours is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary.  The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry.  At the time of entry, the landlord or agent shall leave written evidence of the entry inside the unit.

Whenever you have a question about landlord-tenant rights as an income property owner, look online for the answer.  "Google" the question and hopefully the Civil Code Section will appear.  If not, call the L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs for assistance, (213) 974-9750.


   Zoning Mismatch 


Each individual property has a zone code which regulates land use.  A parcel use can be zoned for residential (single- or multi-family); commercial; industrial; recreational, etc.  When there is a mismatch, for example: a duplex zoned for single-family residence use, the Buyer needs to take action.  A potential issue may occur if an earthquake or a fire completely destroys the duplex and the owner wants to rebuild exactly, but the zoning use states differently.  Obtain a Rebuild Letter from the Dept. of Building and Safety to ensure City approval in case the structure needs to be rebuilt as-is. Online cost: $110.24.

Lenders Get Personal
Great news for L.A. and Orange county homebuyers.  The Congress and Senate voted to reinstate the elevated "jumbo" conforming loan limit on mortgages guaranteed by the government.  Expected to remain in effect through 2013, the higher conforming loan limit of $729,500 (normally $625,500) is most
beneficial in expensive neighborhoods.  Borrowers can obtain a lower mortgage rate and can put down a smaller deposit versus applying for a jumbo loan.  The current D.C. Administration wanted this loan limit to expire as a preferred first step to reintroducing private capital, and to spare taxpayers from additional risk.  This is a big win for CA homebuyers.

As for other mortgage news,  lenders are going deeper into the personal history of a potential borrower.  Consumer applicants will be required to share more information to develop a more well- rounded picture of a person's finances beyond a FICO credit score.  Some critics believe that too much emphasis is put on a single FICO number based on a person's credit history.

A collaboration between the company that created FICO scores and data provider CoreLogic will generate a separate and additional score, available to mortgage lenders, which incorporates the borrower's information, including: 
- payday loans
- evictions
- child support payments
In the future, the payment status of utility, rent and cellphone bills may also be included.

Private banks want to grow their business responsibly by taking good credit risks.  Lenders reward the most creditworthy prospects of high FICO scores with low rates, and for those with lower scores extra fees are tacked onto loans.

However, mortgages guaranteed by Uncle Sam backed by Fannie, Freddie or the FHA will not be required to rely on CoreLogic data. These three agencies collectively guarantee at least 90% of all written mortgages.

        Time to Share 

Ask your friends, family members or neighbors if they want to be informed about the southern California real estate market.  My Real Estate Matters newsletter
is free every quarter just by forwarding an e-mail address. 

When a property owner signs an "exclusive" listing contract with a specified Broker only then is the information allowed to be submitted to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) website.  The benefit of an MLS listing is to gain full exposure to Buyers worldwide, as 90% search on the internet.  The objective of MLS mass marketing is to attract many prospects to the property, resulting in the highest possible market value for a Seller. 

A "pocket" listing is an industry term used exclusively in the U.S.  It applies when an owner does not want to formally list their property but allows a Realtor® to bring them a prospective Buyer.  Realtors® who hold a pocket listing are advised to have a One-party Agreement signed with the owner including exclusive representation for a brief time period and a commission rate.  The agent can decide the commission split with a cooperating associate, otherwise dictated by the MLS. 


If a pocket listing is sold the process can be quick, but a pocket listing is not optimal to anyone.  The owner is not highly motivated, and may not sell.  A Realtor® does not have exclusive control and subsequently

numerous agents can have the same short-term agreement.  An agent will try to protect the property information from associates, so they keep the information hidden.  Buyers desire a pocket listing because they can possibly buy cheaper, but they may not find out about the property.  Ultimately, a property owner who wants to sell for the highest dollar is advised to sign a formal exclusive listing agreement.

Residence Corner

In lieu of information about a new, unique or noteworthy property typically in this column, here are some talking points about the 2011 and 2012 real estate market provided by the California Association of Realtors®. 


October 2011 vs. October 2010  

California Market-at-a-glance 

- Number of existing home sales was up 8.5%

- Median home price was

down 8.9%

- Unsold inventory stated at 5.3 months, down 14.5% from 2010

- Median days-on-market was

up 7.2% to about 55.2 days


SoCal Counties Oct. '11 vs. '10

Los Angeles County    

- Median price of existing single- family homes is up 1.0%
Orange County
Median price of existing single- family homes is down 3.7%
Riverside County
Median price of existing single- family homes is down .07%
San Bernardino County
- Median price of existing single- family homes is up 4.3%
San Diego County
- Median price of existing single- family homes is up 1.7%
Ventura County
- Median price of existing single- family homes is up 14.9%

2012 vs. 2011 Market Forecast*
*Based on estimates for 2011

CA Housing Market Outlook
- Total sales of single-family homes is expected to increase 1%
(down 20.6% vs. 2005)
- Median price of a single-family home is expected to increase
1.7% (down 47% from the 2007 market high, which is an indication of how the short and foreclosure sales have affected the overall CA housing values)

Escrow days
Number of days from contract to the close of escrow is averaging 40 days, the same as it was in 2003 before the mortgage frenzy.

The CA real estate market has re-settled down after double-digit
price increases of years past.  We are back to normal.





Here are five things to know before buying a second home to use for vacation and rental purposes:

1. Now is a great time to buy.  Low prices, low rates and plenty of deals to be made.

2. Shop as though you are going to rent the place.  Make sure the CC&Rs approve rentals.  Also, renters prefer bedroom suites.

3. Don't count on rent to pay all of your bills.  Added expenses include cleaning, maintenance, insurance and possibly property management.

4.  Loan rates depend on use.

If you need the income to qualify for a loan, the lender will give you investment property mortgage rates, as much as 25% down.

5. Tax benefits can be sweet.

Check with your financial expert about short-term rentals, which do not count as income.  And, the benefits of using the property as a vacation home 10% of rental days.


Avoid Moving Errors

Moving does not have be stressful when you have good resources. Each aspect of a move should be overseen by your Realtor®, or, at the very least, offering three referrals for whatever service is needed. 


When interviewing a moving company, here are five mistakes to avoid:

1. Getting a phone quote

A phone or internet quote is non-binding.  Always have a visual survey by a reputable and highly insured mover of everything you are moving.

2. Waiting too long to contact a mover

Six weeks before moving, get a few visual quotes and sign a binding contract so the mover can line up a truck.

3. Misrepresenting what you are moving

First, place the same color sticker on items that will be moved.

Show the estimator everything you are moving, whether on the property or in a storage locker and any items to be sent to another locale.  (Donations or items going to family members or to the trash will be color coded differently.)  Also, if you commit to packing and don't finish, the movers will provide the service for an additional cost.

4. Paying a deposit up-front

Red flag, if mover requires.  A reputable company expects payment upon delivery.

5. Mover selection based on price rather than reputation and service

Getting three quotes will determine if you are being low-balledMake sure that all of the items you transport are on the same truck.  And, get a separate estimate for items trucked to another location. 


Expect Five More Years


Research performed by MacroMarkets indicates the housing market to remain shaky and unlikely to deliver significant growth in prices over the next five years.  Home prices, nationwide, are expected to grow at a modest 1.1% average annual rate through 2015.


News is slightly better for some local markets as stability seems to be improving.  In CA, median prices may rise 1.5% in 2011.  CA, ranking second behind NV in foreclosure filings (and 11.3% unemployment in Nov.), will take until 2015 before the inventory is absorbed in the inland areas.


 Quiet! New Dog Law


L.A. City Council unanimously voted to impose fines on owners  whose dog barks excessively.  No matter where you live a barking dog is a nuisance, and if you are a property Seller this issue must be disclosed.  Owners can face fines starting at $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second and $1,000 for a third if a hearing is conducted by the Dept. of Animal Services.  


Happy, healthy, prosperous

new year.

New  CA Laws for 2012

Below are some of the new CA laws involving disclosures and other items that may affect property owners...and buyers.


Water-conserving plumbing fixtures

The new TDS (Transfer Disclosure Statement) completed by the Seller includes a checkbox for water-conserving plumbing fixtures. These fixtures include: low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets.


The revised TDS also clarifies that, by January 1, 2017, a single-family residence built on or before 1994 must generally be equipped with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

However, if that single-family home is altered or improved on or after January 1, 2014, the water-conserving plumbing fixtures must be a condition of final permit approval.


HOA Disclosures

Homeowner Associations (HOAs), typically found in condominium buildings, are asked to provide Buyers with an extensive packet of information.  Included are: the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions of the building or area), 12 months of approved Board meeting minutes, a complete record of financials including known future assessments and all pending lawsuits.  These documents are typically prepared by a third-party company, and are included in the Buyer's contingency period to approve, or not.


Starting January 2012, upon written request with the above items, a reasonable estimate must be provided to a prospective Buyer for issuing the governing documents of the common interest development and other required HOA disclosures. More importantly, the HOA cannot bundle the fee with any other fees, fines or assessments.  If this doc fee is paid, the HOA cannot withhold any required disclosures to the Buyer.


Increase in Small Claims

Beginning 2012, the small claims court jurisdiction will increase to $10,000 (formerly $7,500) for an action brought by a natural person.

(Note: For a claim of bodily injury from a car accident, the increase to $10,000 will not occur until 2015.)


Renting out Condominiums

Starting this year, a condominium owner is exempt from any prohibition in a governing document against renting or leasing the unit, unless the CC&Rs prohibition was in effect before the unit was acquired.


Tenants Smoking Ban

Effective this month, a residential landlord can prohibit the smoking of all tobacco products on the property premises, in the dwelling unit, in the common areas of the building and any interior or exterior areas.  New tenants forward, the smoking prohibited areas must be stated in the lease agreement.  For pre-existing (before 2012) tenants, a new provision prohibiting smoking is a change in the terms of tenancy that requires adequate written notice.


The full text of these and other new bills is available by logging on:



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